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The second day of Nuxeworld began with a keynote presentation from Laurence Hart of Washington Consulting, who tackled the enterprise content management trends and how we are going to handle a level of content that will be the equivalent of around 35 billion Libraries of Congress by 2020.

Managing Content

While the keynote was entitled ECM Market Trends, he dispensed with the enterprise element of the title suggesting that the real problem over the next few years is not so much enterprise content management systems and how they develop, but rather how companies are actually going to strategize and manage content.

Enterprise, he says, is:

… a strategy for the coordinated management of all content throughout an organization, allowing for people and systems to find and use content from within any business context.”

Since the 1990s the ECM technology has been evolving in such a way and with so many different elements it that “… it’s challenging at the best of times to make it work”.

At this stage, the amount of content being used or accessed by enterprises is rising by 50% per year, which means that by 2020 there will be around 35 zetabytes of information floating around, which is where the Library of Congress analogy comes in.

With this comes more users, bigger infrastructure and bigger security issues around securing that content, making it harder and harder to make things work.

In this respect he cites the case of the US Immigration Service and the difficulties in managing the content in just this one service:

  • Every year there is one million new immigrants into the United States.
  • Each immigrant creates enough information for 70MB of information.
  • Each file has to be held for 99 years, and made accessible to all the different departments that need it.

For social security it’s even worse with 16 billion claims every year, with every single request or reference to that claim recorded and logged.

That’s just two examples in the US of many in the public sector. Then add the private sector, and all the other related content and you get a great big mess.

4 Trends in Content Management

The real question is not how enterprise content managing systems should be evolving, but how do you manage the entire content within this context. What has happened, Hart says, is that we spend more and more time every year managing the infrastructure to manage that content.

From that, he says, the ‘Unanswerable Question’ arises:

If all the obstacles to enterprise content management adoption were to go away - user/culture acceptance, networks bandwidth, cost, security, etc - what would you do with enterprise content management?”

In other words, if all the technical problems around ECM suddenly disappeared, how and what kind of content strategy would be left.

And a number of trends are evolving in this respect that, while current in the US at the moment, are also making their way across the Atlantic to Europe.

1. Content Management For All

He says there is a growing awareness among people working in business that content needs to be managed that it won’t just happen itself

2. Content Governance

The distinction between enterprise ownership and personal ownership is changing, where content created in the enterprise belongs to the enterprise as opposed to the person who created it, and that content, as a result needs to be findable and available.

3. Solving the Business Problem

Vendors are slowly moving away from the idea of building a single fix-it-all enterprise content management system to designing systems that will actually deal with business problems.

4. Moving to the Cloud

The Cloud, he says, is the initial promise of the web for business realized; a situation where all their business issues can be dealt with through technology, without having to worry about the infrastructure issues. While vendors are beginning to see the potential for that, it still has a long way to go.

Focus on Business Problems

These trends, he says, should take users to a place where they are unaware of what is going on in the background; where they are working with content to fulfill business needs, not to keep an infrastructure in shape.

However, there is still one thing that is lacking and that is centralized Identity management, without which you will still need a centralized infrastructure to achieve ECM so that all authentication and authorization can be managed by the LDAP service of choice.

ECM vendors need to start getting up to speed on this issue as they look to move beyond their traditional application boundaries.

Ultimately, the goal is Omnipresent Content Management, defined as the coordinated management of all content throughout the world, allowing systems and people to find, use and share content from within any context.